The International Rubber Duck Team
Huey, Dewey, and Louie
Ups we almost forgot …
After the return to France of Elisabeth Revol, who was forced to retrieve and decent at 7800m just 300m below the summit of Nanga last winter, we at Valandre realized that our standard Combi suit, had never been designed to confront such brutal conditions.
We know our Combi well that has been key for many successful high altitude non ox expeditions on the 8000, but it reached it’s limit at 7800m on Nanga Parbat in the brutal winter conditions of 2015. We at Valandre was confronted by the challenge to develop the down gear solution for 2016. A simple question of showing a bit of professionalism!
So with the help of Elisabeth we started in the spring, the project of upgrading the performance of the combi, by increasing the baffle height and down load in two versions: +25% and +50%. Both versions was tested by Elisabeth on the Mt Blanc massif in the summer of 2015. Elisabeth concluded that +25% should be enough to do the trick.
Elisabeth is a MINI woman and the Small size combi used in 2015 was too big for her, so we down sized the Small into an Extra Small. And finally to maximize the head protection, we installed the “MESSERSCHMITT storm hood”, which we developed for the IG2 lightweight expedition jacket.
The C25 SUPER COMBI, was then sewed up and filled in an M size for Tomek, and an L size for Arslan. As with high altitude combi technique, the tree C25 SUPER COMBI’s were made in different colors.
Elisabeth Revol with the first C25 SUPER COMBI
A cross check was made to see if the C25 SUPER COMBI would fit into the inside volume of the SHOCKING BLUE NEO, which it did, so we produced 3 SHOCKING BLUE NEO but removed the draft collar. This bag will be used during the climb.
The team received an IG2 down jacket and a THOR NEO for BC as well.
Using the C25 SUPER COMBI eliminates the need for multiple underlayering, and the result is a super light team.
300m left…….Ok lets go!
New Year’s party is starting on Nanga Parbat 2015/16 and the first guest are arriving now.
This will be the 28th year in a row that expeditions will try to tackle the Naked Peak in winter that still stands untouched up until today. Situated in the Karakoram Mountains range in Pakistan, none has ever set foot on the top of Nanga nor K2 in winter due to several factors: Extreme cold conditions, high and strong winds and few weather windows.
This is High altitude alpinism in its purest form, nobody have ever reached these kind of altitudes in the Karakoram, and often expeditions retrieved with severe frost bites. Nobody knows if the human body can resist conditions like this……A steep into the unknown.
NANGA ON THE ROCKS
This winter 5 teams will be in Base Camp attempting to reach the summit:
1 – International Team
The International team, attempting to tackle Nanga Parbat this winter, on the Kinshofer route (classic set up with camps and fixed ropes started) started out as a strong 5 member team: Ferran Latorre and Alex Txikon from Spain, Janusz Golab from Poland, Ali Sadpara from Pakistan and finally Daniel Nardi from Italy.
Before the departure from Europe, Ferran Latorre announced that he would not join the expedition and information on the web announced the 23.12 that Janusz Golab had decides to abandon the team as well.
So The International team is now reduced to a 3 member team: Alex Txikon from Spain, Ali Sadpara from Pakistan and Daniel Nardi from Italy.
2 – Polish – Pakistani Team
A nine member team including seven climbers from Poland and two Pakistani climbers will attempt the Nanga Parbat from the Rupal Face, Schell Route in a traditional style with fixed ropes and camps.
3 – Nanga Revolution
Forth team is “Nanga Revolution” comprising Adam Bielecki (First winter ascent of Broad Peak and G1) and Jacek Czech. They will attempt Kinshofer route in alpine style.
4 – The North Face expedition team
The North Face are sending in once again, the extremely experienced Simone Moro together with Mrs Tamara Lunger who will attempt her second 8000 in winter (Manaslu 2015). The route selected is the Messner 2000, a route that has never been finished, but they plan to prepare the different camps.
5 – The rubber duck team
Mrs Elisabeth Revol (France), Tomek Mackiewicz (Poland) and Arslan Ahmed Ansari (Pakistan) will equally attempt to climb the Messner 2000 in a pure alpine style. Both Elisabeth and Tomek have several winter attempts behind them on Nanga and are extremely experienced reaching 7800m last year on Messner 2000. This is 300m below the summit and is the second highest winter height record on Nanga ever, and it is at the same time the highest point ever reached on Messner 2000. Straw hat off for the rubber duck team.
There are 14 8000 meter summits in the world, and 12 of them have been climbed in winters, only Nanga Parbat and K2 still stand unclimbed.
Mountaineers are attempting to climb Nanga Parbat since 1988, which makes 27 years to the date. More or less 27 expeditions have tested their limits on Nanga Parbat in winter, and none of them could reach the summit of Nanga Parbat. A lot of questions rise: what makes Nanga different from other 8000ers? Why is it still unclimbed in winter? When Mount Everest can be climbed in winter, why can’t be Nanga Parbat? Over the years, the mountaineers who tested themselves on Nanga in winter have answered these questions.
Nanga was attempted first time in winter 1988-1989 by Polish team. The team was lead by Maciej Berbeka himself, who had made several first ascents in Himalaya (Nepal). Maciej was astonished after looking at conditions on Nanga; he said everything is cruel on this mountain and conditions in Western Himalaya are way worst in winter, “blue ice, lower temperature, faster winds and less weather windows.” The highest altitude reached by Poles was 6800 meter.
Continue reading “Nanga Parbat: The Crown of Western Himalaya still stands untouched in winter” »
K2 is, as we all know, a mountain that has haunted climbers since the first expedition attempts. “The savage mountain”, has always resisted as if no man was allowed to enter it’s domain. Human tragedy is deeply rooted in it’s image, forcing climbers to take every little event into serious consideration: You just do not fool around with the BIG SCARY BROWNIE.
In the April issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 2012, a brilliant article describes the International Amical Alpin climb of this big pile of rock and ice. Rightly they based the assent from the North side (North pillar), properly offering more stable conditions.
Naturally one could look at this climb, as the last in the line of Gerlindes 14 non ox climbs. It is, but it’s also a bit more: This climb represent a human manifestation of outmost will, determination, faith and profound trust. Confronted by this, K2 opened up the closed door and offered 15min to Gerlinde alone on top. No wind, Sun down light from a clear blue sky and surrounded below by all the 8000 she had formerly climbed in the area. An alpine blessing on her final 8000.
READ THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC K2 ARTICLE HERE
Once again K2 has spoken……but this time using a sweet language.
Traversée Rochefort Jorasses
Le beau temps est de la partie pour ce WE de septembre. Coup de fil avec Fred pour papoter projets de courses…
…Ce sera, sur le fil des 4000 entre France et Italie…
Quels mots pour qualifier cette course : magnifique itinéraire, d’ampleur, engagée, élégant, où l’on peut jouer au funambule, avançant sur un fil se découpant sur l’azur, arête arienne, vertigineuse et très effilée après la pointe Marguerite, panorama exceptionnel vers les cimes et glaciers du massif, ambiance majestueuse et austère, solitude, descente sauvage … Bref, parcours tantôt sur un fil de neige vertigineux (le vent a sculpté ici de magnifiques œuvres d’art…), tantôt le long de lignes rocheuses aériennes (les lignes fuient de tous côtés…) tantôt en face nord….
Continue reading “Traversée Rochefort Jorasses” »